Alitteration


Alliteration (al-lit’-er-a’-tion): Repetition of the same letter or sound within nearby words. Most often, repeated initial consonants. Taken to an extreme alliteration becomes the stylistic vice of paroemion where nearly every word in a sentence begins with the same consonant.


“Those are some pretty big boobs,” I said to the woman in line behind me at the grocery store. This was surely a mad moment—psychosis had struck me down at Hannaford and I was ready be beaten up up and run over in the parking lot. What I had done was say out loud what I was thinking, which can be fatal. There was the man in South Carolina who was shot dead for saying “Shove it” to a State Trooper when the State trooper pulled him over and asked to see his proof of insurance, driver license, and vehicle registration. The Trooper shot the man 11 times and then radioed his friends to take a few shots at him after he was dead. If the man hadn’t said “shove it,” he probably would’ve only been handcuffed, tasered, and kicked a couple of times. Or what about the woman who said “I love you” out loud to her boyfriend? After she said it to him, she regretted it forever. After they got married her husband would ask her to do terrible things. She said “No,” but he told her back: “You told me you loved me.” She was stuck by guilt, and went ahead. She was eventually imprisoned for robbing a Cliffs of 12 cartons of Marlboro 27s because her husband told her to, and she felt obligated because she had told him she loved him.

Anyway, there I was in Hannaford waiting for the axe to fall. Everybody in line was silent and looking at me, and the checker was standing there with her mouth hanging open and a can of pineapple chunks in her hand. Time had frozen and I was scared. The woman said, “We need to talk. Come outside.” Now, I was terrified, but I made myself do it, certain I was going to be physically hurt somehow. She pulled me behind the grocery store, behind a smelly dumpster. She said, “Stand over there” and lifted her sweatshirt to reveal her hairy chest and bra with two grapefruits stuffed where her breasts should’ve been. “I’ve been pilfering 2 grapefruits per week from Hannaford ever since I moved here from Buffalo five years ago. I wear a bra so I can conceal the grapefruits in its empty cups. Please don’t squeal on me.” He held out a grapefruit. I took it and promised not to tell.

On my way home I thought about the kinds of things I could stuff in my shirt if I wanted to be a grocery-lifter. I considered all the spherical fruits and vegetables as fair game. I experimented at home with additional foods and different concealment locations. Wearing a maternity smock, I tried a frozen turkey, but it was too heavy and kept falling to the floor. The same thing happened with a ham and a bag of oranges.

My girlfriend came over to dinner about a week later. I was wearing my new grapefruit bra, as an experiment to see what she might blurt out. She said nothing, and neither did I. She didn’t spend the night, and that was unusual. I got a text from her around 2:00 am. It said: “I know those were grapefruits—I could smell them. If you must wear grapefruit boobs, it is ok with me. I love you.” She said it! She said it! I love you! Finally she said it! I texted her, “I love you too!” Now, grapefruits would have a special place in our lives. But I thought, “Will she still she love me if I don’t wear my grapefruits?”


Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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